We all feel lost at different points in our lives. You know the feeling. It’s like you’re drowning in a sea of successful friends, colleagues, or family. It may even be a total stranger you came across on Instagram in a particularly vulnerable moment.
These sinking feelings never totally go away. Not as far as I have experienced in my life, anyway.
The most difficult part of it is focusing on the varying ways you potentially can “fail.” Sometimes you feel like you are rocking a healthy lifestyle and routine, but your work life is less lucrative. Other times your interpersonal relationships are on point, while you’re continuously longing for that vacation you haven’t taken in years.
There is something to be said for “looking on the bright side” and staying positive in spite of fear and lack. Let’s be real, though, gratitude and positivity are tough to maintain 24 hours a day, 360 a year.
Let’s come up with some realistic principles that will help you through times of uncertainty. At the very least, they will let you know you’re not totally alone in this kaleidoscopic universe.
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Accept that you will never have it “all together.”
We are conditioned to believe others have it perfect, we come up short, and we have to hide all our fears, insecurities, and shortcomings in a private lockbox.
The highlight reel of social media is partly to blame for this. Even though most of us know better than to blindly believe the happy and success driven posts we see, it is still hard to train our subconscious mind to think critically when we see others’ posts.
I still get caught up in the hype daily, but awareness is always the first step in changing.
I connect much more deeply with those who share their vulnerabilities on social media; they end up being my favourite accounts. I admire them for their acceptance of their whole being, flaws and all, and for the fact they open themselves up to criticism from any and everyone.
Maybe our striving to be better than our neighbours is a primal instinct linked to survival. However, in the modern world, this is no longer necessary.
There is room for all of us to thrive together, help one another, and thrive as a unit.
Envy and lust are part of the 7 deadly sins for a reason. They suck your soul power and turn you into a mean, green, fun-eating machine. No one wants to be around that or live like that long-term.
When you are feeling less-than:
1. Explore your tendencies to compare yourself to others and search for patterns in the contexts you do this under.
2. Begin to change your dialogue in these contexts. For example, change “they are so much more attractive than me” to “I admire their beauty and I also appreciate my body for what it does for me daily.”
3. Work towards accepting yourself for and in-spite of your flaws.
Realize where you are versus where you would like to be.
It’s easy to complain that you’re not where you want to be. However, before you jump on the complain-train to nowhere, ask yourself where it is you actually want to be.
Once you have an idea, begin to craft a plan and write down small, measurable steps to get there.
For example, say my goal is to move out of my parent’s house by June. First I set the goal (moving out) and the timeframe (June) and then I begin to piece together the steps: In order to move out of my parent’s house by June, I need to save $__ per month for __ months. I can do this by picking up an extra shift at work and only going out to eat once each week. Now that I have a plan, I can then begin to browse Craigslist for available and less expensive apartments in the area I hope to live in. I can also ask friends to put the word out for me and even post about it on social media post. Involving others will not only open the doors for their help, it will also keep me accountable.
Another important part is to visualize your goals. In my example, I can begin to visualize myself as an independent person who no longer lives with their parents. Visualizing can help motivate action and bring your plans to fruition.
If you begin to think of yourself as the person you want to be, the universe begins to help make that happen.
Keep in mind through this process that small, consistent, and measured steps always win over large generalizations that you hope will happen immediately.
Keep moving onward, slowly and steadily toward your goals. Even if they don’t work out, you will learn patience in the process.
Keep calm and trust that you will reach your happy, balanced life eventually.
This last point is aligned with the previous one. However, here I will give you some actual steps to keep your head on straight during the process of awaiting your more fulfilled life.
1. Do things that will bring you closer to finding your true self.
There is a lot surrounding us in this day and age: access to social media and connection to people all over the world, the pressure to be successful in new types of careers, the idea that busyness and stress equal success.
If you can pin down a few self-care techniques that allow you to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with your inner motivations, this will help you align with your true passions and the things that fulfil you.
2. Incorporate positive self-talk into your daily life.
This one is a favourite amongst self-love gurus and for good reason. I don’t necessarily think you have to stand in front of a mirror and profess your amazingness to yourself. However, I do think that simply learning to listen for those negative voices (“my legs are ___”) and changing the inner dialogue (“I’m so proud these legs took me 5kms to and from work today”) is both effective and important.
It takes time; however, just be aware of the negativity and begin countering it with positivity and eventually it will begin to change your view of yourself and your life, I promise. It’s worth it, so start now!
3. Realize you may end up somewhere completely different than you originally planned.
Where you want to be in 5 years will most likely morph and evolve as you grow and evolve. Remain open to new paths because they may be more fitted for you than the ones you thought you wanted before you began your self-exploration. In fact, I can almost guarantee your paths will evolve, and when they do you will be glad you remained open to change.
So, friend, I hope you realize your path to finding whatever it is you desire will not be littered with gold coins and fancy dresses. However, it will show you small victories after periods of struggle.
These little wins will help you gain momentum as you begin to realize wholeness does not come from reaching a “successful” destination, but rather from finding a home within yourself.
PS: you may also like “Finding Your Anchor (you are not lost)”